It’s the periodic table, right? Right. To be even more precise it’s the Periodic Table of the Elements.
What are elements? Elements are things that help you build other things. The elements on the periodic table build pretty much everything. We can’t break them down smaller, and when you put them together, they make new things. For example, when the elements of hydrogen and oxygen combine they make water.
Ok, I’m done talking about science, but there is a point. Just like elements make the world around us, We also use elements to make pictures. They are called the Elements of design.
The Elements of Design Are:
Line, Shape, Value, Texture, and Color.
Take a moment to think about any art you’ve ever seen. If you can think of a piece that doesn’t use one or more of these elements, I would think you were crazy. Because as far as I know, it’s not possible to make art without the Elements of Design.
Let’s talk about them now.
I’m pretty sure you know what a line is. We use them all the time. Lots of times we use lines to make shapes. Lines can be hesitant, beautiful, bold, straight, curved, sketchy, and much more. Read more about line by clicking here.
As I said, lines can make shapes, but you can make them in other ways. Take a paint brush and blob it on your paper. You’ve just made a shape. Lots of times we think the shapes with names, triangle, circle, square, oval, etc. But there are also shapes that don’t have names. These shapes are part of the elements of design too.
The way you choose to design your shapes can have a huge impact on how your art looks. Let’s face it; some shapes are just more interesting than others.
Value is how light or dark something is. Think of a black and white movie or a grayscale image. The reason you can still tell what is going on is because of the values. Values tell us a lot of stuff, where the light is coming from, where forms change direction, if it’s a sunny or overcast day, and lots of other things.
Texture is how something feels, rough, smooth, furry, slimy, etc. and texture can be real, or implied.
Real texture is really there. Like the texture of the paper, or the ridges and bumps created from brush strokes.
Implied texture is texture you only show in your picture. For example, if you paint a tree trunk, and it looks rough but actually isn’t if you touch it, that is implied texture.
Red, Yellow, Blue, etc. Right? Right… The thing is it doesn’t just stop there. Every color has a value, temperature, and saturation.
I’ve created a worksheet to walk you through the different aspects of color and show you ways to use them. You can download it free when you sign up for my mailing list. Click here to sign up and Get The Color Worksheet.
The Elements as building blocks
By now you I hope you see how the Elements of Design make up the pictures, sculptures, and other art we see. If you want to work more with them, I’ve created a downloadable worksheet so you can get to know them a little better. You know, make friends and stuff. I hope you enjoy it.